Real Madrid have not enjoyed enormous success in the transfer market this summer. While they have managed to loan out some of their younger talents and sell back-ups Denis Cheryshev and Alvaro Medran, incoming deals have been restricted to just Alvaro Morata – who returned from Juventus on a buy-back deal.
Over the past two weeks, Real have seen two key targets slip from their grasp: N’Golo Kante — who was on top of Zinedine Zidane’s wishlist, according to Marca — went to Chelsea and Andre Gomes performed a sudden – and shocking – switch to arch rivals Barcelona, after Real had tracked him all summer.
Improving a squad that has just been crowned champions of Europe isn’t easy, but Zidane does need reinforcements. It seems clear from the two attempted deals that the midfield remains a priority area for the French manager, so here are some considerations as alternative options between now and the closing of the transfer window.
It doesn’t take much imagination to figure that Real’s longstanding interest in Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba might ramp up a notch pretty soon. Aside from the French international’s astonishing technical and physical traits, his standing as a big player on the world stage naturally appeals to a club that attempts to convey the same status and prestige.
Madrid, of course, have Casemiro in place as the holding midfielder and finding another version isn’t easy, but one who stacks up to Kante’s output is relegated midfielder Idrissa Gueye – who is down in the Championship with Aston Villa at present. It sounds absurd that Real might opt for a player who has been relegated, but the Senegalese destroyer was one of the few bright spots for his team last term and came close to matching Kante for his defensive work.
In other words, he’s perhaps as stylistically different from Gomes as it’s possible to be, without being a goalkeeper.